A group of Black women have started a hashtag campaign to let HBO know they're not happy with their newest show announcement. The network revealed earlier this month that an alternate history series called Confederate, which would depict what the United States might look like if the South had won the Civil War, was being developed by Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who are both white men. (HBO later clarified that Nichelle Tramble Spellman and Malcolm Spellman, who are Black, would also be writers/executive producers on the show.)
In response, April Reign, ReBecca Theodore, Shanelle Little, Lauren Warren, and Jamie Broadnax created the hashtag #NoConfederate, and are asking people to tweet with it during tonight's episode of GoT. "The goal is to tell HBO that there are many people who think the show Confederate is a bad idea and they should not spend any more time, energy, or money on it," Reign told Refinery29. "Tonight at 9 p.m. EST, and again at 9 p.m. PST, during Game of Thrones, we are asking everyone to use the hashtag so HBO can see the power of social media," she said.
Reign says that anyone can use the hashtag, whether they are watching GoT or not, and that the creators are fully expecting the hashtag to be trending nationally, if not internationally, tonight.
The hashtag's creators feel like the issue is bigger than just a TV show. "What we believe is that the commodification of Black pain for the enjoyment of others must stop," Reign says. "With what we see going on in this country now with state sanctioned violence and mass incarceration, the huge disparities in education and housing and other areas, this is not the time to suggest an alternate history which would, in some cases, reflect what we see in reality."
Reign is clear that this is not a boycott of HBO or GoT, but points out that, as activist Bree Newsome told The Hollywood Reporter, people still aren't clear about what actually happened during the Civil War, as demonstrated by protests just last month as Confederate monuments were taken down. "We combat racism through educating people on history, so it's dangerous to present alternative histories when people are still not clear on the facts," Newsome told THR.
"We're asking [creators] Benioff and Weiss to recognize that they have incredible leverage with HBO," Reign says. "We hope they would provide opportunities to other marginalized communities and amplify their voices so more stories can be told."
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